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What happens when a breast implant leaks, depends on the type of breast implant. When the breast implants are saline filled, the saline is water with 0.9% salt (NaCl). A small defect in the shell, or leak at the valve, will allow the saline to quickly escape. Since saline has the same saltiness as our body, the fluid causes no harm. There is no reaction to the leaking saline, and it is quickly absorbed. The leaking saline breast implant will deflate, and it becomes quickly obvious that there is a problem. No additional tests are usually necessary, and under most circumstances, arrangements are made to replace the defective breast implant; the sooner the better. Did you know that breast implants come with warranties?

Silicone gel filled breast implants give a different result. Silicone gel is cohesive (sticky) and tends to stay together. Because of this, it is possible to have a “silent leak” with silicone breast implants. A silent leak is when the implant has leaked, but there is no evidence of the problem on physical examination. The silicone gel can leak out of the implant, but continues to be contained by the capsule, the thin scar that forms around the implant that helps keep the implant from moving. Saline is absorbed by the scar, so a silent leak is not possible with saline implants.

If the silicone gel gets outside the scar, the body will try to contain it by forming additional scar. This can lead to lumps in the breast. To avoid this complication, the FDA has recommended that women with silicone gel filled breast implants get an MRI three years after surgery, and then every two years thereafter. The hope is that a leak can be detected in the silent stage, and treated (replaced) before the gel escapes the capsule and begins to form more scar tissue in the breast.

In addition to breast augmentation mastopexy, this video discusses breast implant leaks and breast implant replacement surgery. Combining breast augmentation with other surgeries is also reviewed. The two most common combinations breast lift with breast implants and breast augmentation and tummy tuck (the mommy makeover) are mentioned.

This is segment three of four from a recent airing of KRON’s Body Beautiful with Vicki Liviakis. The 800 number shown was for the live broadcast, so if you have questions please call my office directly at (925) 943-6353, or use the contact form to the left. Additional information can also be obtained from the links at the end of this article.

This episode includes:

If you are interested in learning what specific treatment will work best for you, a personal consultation appointment is the way to find out. A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can help define your goals and tailor the treatment to best achieve the results you desire. To schedule your consultation, please call (925) 943-6353.

Additional information on Breast Augmentation and Breast Lifts can be found here:

Previous parts of this broadcast can be found here:

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